February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Caprifoliaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Abelia This genus contains about 30 ornamental shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, belonging to the Caprifoliaceae, or honeysuckle family. Named after Dr Clarke Abel, a British physician and plant collector, the genus has a wide geographic distribution across the Northern Hemisphere, from eastern Asia to Mexico. The plants? main features are the usually glossy opposite leaves and the funnelform or tubular flowers, usually white or pinkish, sometimes with orange blotches, that are borne in profusion through summer. Some species also have persistent reddish sepals which provide an additional ornamental feature after the flowers have faded. In the garden they can be planted singly in a shrub border or as a low informal hedge. Most attain a height of about 6 ft (1.8 m). CULTIVATION: Propagation is by soft-tip cuttings taken in spring or summer, or by half-hardened cuttings taken in late autumn or winter. Abelias thrive in any well-drained and moderately fertile soil, either in sun or slight shade. All are moderately frost hardy. They are best pruned in winter, when some of the basal shoots should be removed to make room for new growth, and when young, twiggy stems that have flowered have slightly reduced in length. Care should be taken to preserve the plant?s naturally arching habit.
Abeliophyllum The name of this genus is derived from Abelia which it is said to resemble. It contains just one species of small deciduous shrub that is closely related to Forsythia, bearing similar flowers in white. The shrub is native to the mountains of Korea where it is becoming scarce. CULTIVATION: The species will grow in a range of soil conditions but in cool temperate climates should be given a warm site. It can be trained against a wall if desired. Less vigorous old canes should be cut out and the shrub pruned every 2 to 3 years to maintain shape. Propa-gation is usually by half-hardened cuttings taken in summer or by layering in spring or autumn.
Diervilla A genus of 3 species of deciduous shrubs in the honeysuckle family, native to North America, similar to Weigela but differing in having smaller, yellow flowers. The plants have suckering roots and are useful for stabilizing banks. CULTIVATION: They are frost hardy and will grow in full sun or partial shade in a well-drained soil. They should be cut back in late winter or early spring to encourage new flowering growth. Propagation is best from cuttings.
Kolkwitzia There is just a single species in this genus within the Caprifoliaceae family, an attractive deciduous shrub occurring in the wild among rocky outcrops in the mountainous areas of Hubei Province, China. It is grown in gardens for its floriferous spring show. CULTIVATION: Kolkwitzia grows in full sun in well-drained fertile soil. While in very cold areas it needs protection from cold spring winds, in general it is frost hardy. Propagation is from cuttings taken from young wood in late spring or early summer or from suckers which can be removed and grown on. Prune after flowering to retain a tidy shape.
Lonicera Honeysuckles are often regarded as just somewhat weedy second-class climbers, but in the right place they are among the easiest and most rewarding plants. The 180-odd species in the genus encompass climbers, ground covers and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, most of them very hardy. The foliage usually consists of opposite pairs of leathery leaves that may be very small or up to 6?in (15?cm) long. While honeysuckle flowers vary in size, most are tubular and are usually cream inside, with the outer colors including most shades except blue. The flowers are sometimes highly fragrant and often followed by ornamental berries that are relished by birds. The fruit is usually backed or partially enclosed by bract-like calyces that may color slightly. CULTIVATION: Although honeysuckles are tough adaptable plants that thrive in most conditions, they are generally best grown in rich, moist, humus-enriched, well-drained soil in partial shade. They can be raised from seed, though most are easily grown from layers or half-hardened cuttings. Cultivars and hybrids must be vegetatively propagated.
Sambucus The genus, the home of the elderberries, encompasses around 25 species of perennials, shrubs and small trees that are mostly deciduous. Some are ornamental and relatively well-behaved, others are invasive weeds, though they do have their uses, especially the flowers and fruit, which are used for homemade wines, jams and jellies. The foliage is sometimes used medicinally, either crushed and applied directly to painful areas or infused and taken internally. Elders have pinnate leaves that are often composed of a few relatively large leaflets with serrated edges. The deciduous species come quickly into leaf in spring and are soon carrying large umbel-like heads of small white to creamy yellow flowers that develop into quick-ripening, usually red to black berries. CULTIVATION: Elders are not difficult to grow and some species are only too easily cultivated; think twice before deliberately introducing Sambucus nigra to your garden, even if elderberry wine appeals. They are not fussy about soil type as long as the ground remains fairly moist in summer, nor are they worried by brief periods of waterlogging in winter. Most species are very frost hardy and will reshoot even if cut to the ground by frost. Prune to shape as necessary and propagate from seed or cuttings.
Symphoricarpos Allied to the honeysuckles (Lonicera) and differing scientifically in small floral and fruiting details only, the 17 deciduous shrubs in this genus do, however, look quite distinctively different from honeysuckles and the two are unlikely to be confused by gardeners. They are mainly found in North and Central America, with 1 species from China. They have opposite pairs of usually simple leaves with blunt rounded tips, sometimes with a slightly glaucous coloration and downy undersides. The small white or pink flowers that appear in spring may be carried singly or in clusters and are showy enough, but it is the fruit that follows, rather than the flowers, that is really the main feature of most species. The berry-like drupes are near-spherical and, because most birds find them unappealing, they last well into winter and stand out clearly on the then leafless stems. CULTIVATION: Most species are very frost hardy and prefer to grow in a distinctly seasonal temperate climate. They are not fussy about soil type as long as it is well-drained, but will crop more freely if fed well and watered during dry spells. Plant in sun or partial shade and prune or trim to shape in winter after the fruit has past its best. Propagation is most often from winter hardwood cuttings.
Viburnum This genus consists of easily grown, cool-climate, deciduous, semi-evergreen or evergreen, shrubby plants that are grown for their flowers, autumnal leaf color and berries. Most have erect branching stems, paired leaves, a spread about two-thirds their height and display small white flowers in dense clusters. (Those resembling lace-top hydrangeas bear sterile florets at the outer edges of the cluster.) The buds and petals, particularly in cultivars, may be softly colored in tints of pink, yellow and green. CULTIVATION: Light open positions and light well-drained soils are preferred. Many are drought tender. Prune the evergreens by clipping in late spring and the deciduous species by removing entire old stems after flowering. For a good berry display grow several in the same area. Propagation is from cuttings taken in summer, or from seed in autumn.
Weigela The 10 or 12 species of this genus within the Caprifoliaceae family are deciduous long-lived shrubs with opposite oblong to elliptic leaves. From eastern Asia, their natural habitat is scrubland and the edges of woods. Cultivated for their bell- or funnel-shaped flowers that are produced in late spring and early summer, they have pink, red, white or sometimes yellow blooms, growing on the previous year?s wood. CULTIVATION: They do well in moist but well-drained fertile soil in sun or partial shade. Propagate by sowing seed in autumn in an area protected from winter frosts or from half-hardened cuttings in summer. Seed may not come true, as weigelas hybridize freely.

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